This paper re-examines the connection between unions and wage
inequality, focussing on three questions: (1) How does the union wage
effect vary across the wage distribution? (2) What is the effect of
unionism on the overall variance of wages at the end of the 1980s?
(3) How much of the increase in the variance of wages over the 1970s
and 1980s can be attributed to changes in the level and distribution
of union coverage?
Cross-sectional union wage gap estimates vary over the wage
distribution, ranging from over 30 percent for lower wage workers to
-10 percent for higher wage workers. Using a longitudinal estimation
technique that accounts for misclassification errors in union status,
I find that this variation represents a combination of a truly larger
wage effect for lower-paid workers, and differential selection
The estimated effect of unions on the variance of wages in the
late 1980s is relatively modest. Nevertheless, changes in the level
and pattern of unionism -- particularly the decline of unions among
lower wage workers -- have been an important component of the growth
in wage inequality. Changes in unionization account for one-fifth of
the increase of the variance of adult male wages between 1973 and

Year of Publication
Date Published
Publication Language
Citation Key
Card, D. (1991). The Effect of Unions on the Distribution of Wages: Redistribution or Relabelling?. Retrieved from http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/dsp0179407x173 (Original work published July 1991)
Working Papers

Federal legislation passed in the late 1980s greatly expanded the potential coverage of the Medicaid
program to include children in families with incomes at and slightly above the poverty threshold,
including families with two parents and working parents. Prior to these expansions, the
distribution of health insurance coverage in the population of children was distinctly U-shaped,
with children in the second and third income deciles having the lowest levels of coverage. In this
paper I evaluate the impact of the expansions on the distribution of coverage both by income class
and by region. I find that the expansions served to reduce the variation in insurance coverage,
raising coverage levels substantially for low-income children and children in historically low-
coverage regions. Using the fact that the impact of the legislation varied regionally and by income
decile, I explore whether the fall in private coverage that occurred in the late 1980s and early
1990s could be attributed to the expansions. I conclude that the decline in private coverage was
unlikely to have arisen as a result of the expansions.

Year of Publication
Date Published
Publication Language
Citation Key
Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Vol. 54, No. 1, October, 2000
Shore-Sheppard, L. (1996). The Effects of Expanding Medicaid Eligibility on the Distribution of Children’s Health Insurance Coverage. Retrieved from http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/dsp01tm70mv17h (Original work published September 1996)
Working Papers